When it’s cold and rainy outside, it can seem hard to be active with your pet pal indoors. However, our playful team at Animal Clinic of Woodruff came up with a few ideas for keeping your pet’s mind and body active all winter long.
Hide and Seek
You’ll feel like a magician in no time with this cup game! Just take three paper cups, turn them upside down, and hide a treat under just one of them. Next, do the old cup shift-a-roo and then tell your dog to find the treat.
This is a wonderful problem-solving game that keeps their mind active. Alternatively, you can use tennis balls and a muffin tin, with a treat hidden underneath the ball. Watch Dogtopia's video to learn how.
Want to get in on the hide-and-seek action? Try this age-old favorite one for size: tell your dog to “sit” and then you slowly back away and out of sight. Then find a good place to hide. Before long, your dog will use his powerful sniffer to find you!
The reward? Lots of snuggles.
Tug of War
When you think of playing this game, it might make you think that playing it will make the dog more aggressive. However, when played with rules, it can be very beneficial. Tug of war actually taps into dogs' predatory instincts so they will love that you are willing to play this more adventuresome game with them.
In addition, this game teaches them self-control. How? Teaching them to “drop” when you are ready to end the tugging contest will provide them with an understanding of your boundaries.
Our team at Animal Clinic of Woodruff like strong, knotted ropes like these. The strong fibers and knotted sections provide a little something extra for your dog to grip onto, as well as for you to hold onto too!
Indoor Agility Course
This exciting game will provide an exciting sport to watch. Best of all, you don’t have to buy anything to play it! Using simple items around your house, you can create an “agility jump” with just a broom and a few books.
A tunnel can be created by a few cardboard boxes connected together.
And a hula hoop works as a great, well…hoop to jump through! The options are endless and you might even realize you have quite the agility wonder dog right under your own roof!
Your Dog can do…Chores?
Lastly, we know it may sound far-fetched…but Fido can help with chores too!
How does a helper for sorting clothes, shutting doors, and even fetching the paper sound?
All can be taught with just a little patience and a few simple cues.
Some people use treats, while others use clickers, but the main idea is the repetition of ask and reward. Start by asking for the item (the paper) or the action (the door to be closed).
Once the item or action has taken place, you either verbally reward with a “Yes,” or use a consistent reward sound (like a clicker). Following this reward sound, you give the dog a treat. Then you repeat the process. It will take time, but before you know it, your dog might be saving you time and energy, while stretching his legs and mental powers in the process!
The Whole Dog Journal has a few more details outlined about specific chores in this article.
Let us know how your dog is enjoying trying out his new indoor activities! We love playing these with our own dogs at home.
In the meantime, it’s also important to make sure your pet is healthy and strong all winter long. Give our office a call to schedule an appointment to make sure they are up to date on their vaccines and overall pet health.